Genre: Science Fiction
Published on October 16, 2012
Published by Open Road Integrated Media
Format: eBook, 277 pages
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First sentence: The dome of the sky arched majestically above her as she flew high above the woodlands, soaring effortlessly amid a flock of batlings.
This was my first encounter with Timothy Zahn. Since A Coming of Age does not have high rating on Goodreads (only 3.6) and it was written in 1984 I started reading this book with caution.
There are so many older novels that simply got run over by new styles or trends. But do not be afraid, I can assure you that this is not the case with A Coming of Age. Timothy Zahn writes with a straight-forward matter-o-fact style that never gets old. His world building is so subtle than you don’t even notice when and where he explained all that unknown customs and terms. I can become overwhelmed if authors piles up all the data at the beginning of book or if he keeps bombarding me with unknown (invented) words. Sometimes, I can even give up reading the book altogether because of that. So this is a BIG plus for me.
When the Humans colonized planet Tigris, they never imagined that it would lead to genetic mutations that will trigger telekinetic powers in kids at the age of five. Or that those same powers will inexplicably disappear when children reach puberty.
When someone first mentions telekinesis my first association is moving and throwing objects around. But Timothy Zahn gives us a delightful new aspect to this ability – flying. Anybody else thinking about ‘Peter Pan’? 🙂
Unfortunately (as we all know) children are usually the ultimate hedonists. They do not plan or think about the future – they only want to satisfy their current needs. So what will happen if that type of humans had the most power in society? And what would be the solution to that?
In A Coming of Age, Timothy Zahn does not paint a pretty picture of society. This is a great book for a book club to discuss possible alternatives and flaws in the structure Tigris’ society is organised.
We are introduced to the world of planet Tigris through eyes of a couple of characters:
- Lisa Duncan (coming of age teen who is going to lose her telekinetic powers soon),
- Stanford Tirrell (quirky detective working on a child-kidnaping case),
- Dr. Matthew Jarvis (brilliant scientists)
- Prophet Omega (shady leader of mysterious new cult).
Altough character building of others is not neglected, most attention is devoted to Lisa Duncan. When you read about her thoughts and fears, you read about the usual problems that coming of age teens meet: dealing with changes in your body and how the society and your friends will accept them. You gotta like Lisa – she is smart, innovative, ambitious, inquisitive… And she is not afraid to break the rules. 😉
In the end, of course, all the plotlines untangle and all the characters clash together in an ultimate showdown. Yes, there is a big aerial battle. 😉
This book has something for everybody. A little bit of mystery, coming of age teen problems, dystopian fiction about oppressive government and enough action and adventure to keep you interested until the end.
I recommend this book to fans of classic science fiction, quirky detectives, coming of age stories or speculative fiction about the colonization of other planets.